Serum albumin and risk of venous thromboembolism

Aaron R. Folsom, Pamela L. Lutsey, Susan R. Heckbert, Mary Cushman

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78 Scopus citations


The incidence of venous thromboembolism (VTE) is increased in patients with albuminuria. However, whether a low serum albumin concentration is associated with increased risk of VTE has been a matter of controversy. We determined the association of serum albumin with VTE incidence in two large, prospective, population-based cohorts: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study (n = 15,300) and the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) (n = 5,400). Validated VTE occurrence (n = 462 in ARIC and n = 174 in CHS) was ascertained during follow-up. In both studies, after adjustment for age, sex, race, use of hormone replacement therapy, estimated glomerular filtration rate, history of cancer, and diabetes, serum albumin tended to be associated inversely with VTE. The adjusted hazard ratio per standard deviation lower albumin was 1.18 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.08, 1.31) in ARIC and 1.10 (95% CI = 0.94, 1.29) in CHS. The hazard ratio for albumin below (vs. above) the fifth percentile was 1.28 (95% CI = 0.90, 1.84) in ARIC and 1.80 (95% CI = 1.11, 2.93) in CHS. In conclusion, low serum albumin was a modest marker of increased VTE risk. The observed association likely does not reflect cause and effect, but rather that low serum albumin reflects a hyperinflammatory or hypercoagulable state. Whether this association has clinical relevance warrants further study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-104
Number of pages5
JournalThrombosis and Haemostasis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Albumin
  • Prospective study
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Venous thrombosis


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